Welcome to Yorkshire Rose Writers
It is my great pleasure to interview Yorkshire Rose Writers on my blog today. There are so many questions I wanted to ask but had to limit Sharon and Jessica to just FIVE because of space and time. But I advise anyone who wants to know about them to go over to their wonderful blog, or to follow them on Facebook.
So, who are the Yorkshire Rose Writers ?
We’re the Yorkshire Rose Writers, also known as Sharon Booth and Jessica Redland. We met through both being members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. As we both live in Yorkshire, love Yorkshire, write contemporary romance/romantic comedies set in Yorkshire, and are good friends, we decided to join forces online and become the Yorkshire Rose Writers. They say two heads are better than one so we’re looking forward to seeing where our partnership takes us. So far, Sharon has published 13 books and Jessica has published 9 with her tenth due out in spring.
Way to go Sharon and Jessica, tell us more !
We both set our novels in Yorkshire although, funnily enough, neither of us started with a Yorkshire setting…
Jessica: The idea for my debut novel, Searching for Steven, came from a real-life event. At the time, I was living in Reading, Berkshire, but I moved back to the north the following year to be nearer my family and that’s when I started writing. The book was initially set in London with the protagonist moving to the north but ‘the north’ was a very non-specific setting and, the more I wrote, the more I realised my lack of setting was really letting me down. A couple of months later, I met my husband and he was from Scarborough on the North Yorkshire Coast where I now live. I found the love of my life but I also found my setting as all my books are set in a fictional version of Scarborough (with a bit of Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay thrown in there) called Whitsborough Bay. I wanted to keep the setting fictional to give me the flexibility to change things and create parts of the town that don’t exist. Anyone who knows Scarborough will recognise certain parts, though, which are very much inspired by the real setting.
Sharon: I’ve set books in various parts of Yorkshire, including the Dales and Moors. My first series of books, however, are set in the fictional Kearton Bay, which is based on Robin Hood’s Bay. When I first had the idea for what became There Must Be an Angel, we were on our way down to Somerset for a holiday, and while we were there, we visited Glastonbury. I started plotting during that week, so when I returned home, I initially set the story in Glastonbury. It wasn’t long, however, before I realised that the characters who were talking to me had Yorkshire accents …
Please share your top five writing tips
- Keep everything! No work is wasted work
- Write what you love. If you’re not passionate about your characters/setting/plot, readers probably won’t be too
- Always have a notepad (or even the notes function on your phone) handy for when inspiration strikes
- Keep a spreadsheet or similar of all the key details of your characters and settings, particularly if, like us, you write a series. This makes sure you don’t name two streets the same, move businesses, or keep calling all your secondary characters Dave
- Don’t forget your character arc. By the end of your book, your protagonist needs to have changed in some way/learned something. At the start, decide on your arc and how you’re going to achieve it.
Tell us how the writing process works for you –
plotter or pantser
Sharon: I’m very much a plotter, although in ‘real’ life I’m quite disorganised and everything is ‘last minute’ with me. I use a fantastic book called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody to make a plan before I start writing. Having said that, I do veer off course quite often, but I’m like that clever Sat Nav lady – I just correct the route and carry on.
Jessica: I’m the pantser which surprises me because, in ‘real’ life I’m actually very organised and a big planner. When I wrote Searching for Steven, I just wrote. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing and I learned my craft along the way. Because it took me a decade to write on and off (including some significant breaks where I didn’t write at all), I think I developed a habit. I tried to plot the sequel, Getting Over Gary, but my characters didn’t like it. They kept doing their own thing – which was not what I’d plotted – so I now just write. I do spend some time developing my characters first, though, including their arc. I know what the plot will be about and how it needs to end but how that unfolds is very much driven by my characters as I go.
Social Media – help or hindrance
Great question! If we’re honest, probably a bit of both. Writing can be a lonely business so social media is great for engaging with other writers, making friends, and building a ‘community’. But, let’s be honest, if you’re having a tough time it can really knock your confidence to see a Facebook newsfeed full of writers celebrating amazing news – even though you really like them and are genuinely pleased for them. Sometimes we forget that most people only post about the good bits of their lives! Social media can be great for promoting your work, of course, but that also has a downside, because we know that nothing is more likely to alienate potential readers than constant ‘buy my book’ posts.
It’s hard to strike a balance between promotion and remembering the ‘social’ bit of social media. It’s a huge time suck if you let it be. No one can procrastinate quite like a writer, and it’s funny how appealing a video of a cat watching television can be if you’ve reached a tricky part of your WIP. (And yes, we have watched that video!) It’s part of the reason we joined together. We figured that, if one of us is having a busy week/month, the other one might not be under quite so much pressure, so we can ‘share the burden’. It’s also often easier to promote each other than it is to promote ourselves!
Blurb and link(s) to your current book
Jessica: My current book is a Christmas one, but a Christmas book isn’t just for Christmas is it? And it starts on Christmas Day one year but then is mainly November/early December the following one so not entirely Christmas. Have I convinced you?
Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café –
A few minutes of courage might change your life…
Emotionally, Tara Porter finds the festive period a challenge. Christmas Day is a reminder of the family she lost, and New Year’s Eve holds bitter memories of the biggest mistake of her life: marrying Garth Tewkesbury. Shunning invitations to celebrate, she seeks refuge in her flat with only her giant house bunny, Hercules, for company.
Professionally, though, it’s the best time of year. Tara’s thriving café, The Chocolate Pot, is always packed. With the café hosting a wedding and engagement party, it’s shaping up to be the café’s best Christmas ever.
When former nemesis, Jed Ferguson, threatens the future of The Chocolate Pot, Tara prepares for a fight. The café is everything to her and she’s not going to let anyone or anything jeopardise that.
Tara badly misjudged ex-husband Garth and, since then, has refused to let anyone in. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. But has she misjudged Jed too? Is it possible that he’s not the arrogant, deceitful man from whom she bought the café 14 years earlier? Can she find the courage to find out for sure?
Sharon: My latest book is the first in my new The Witches of Castle Clair series, set in a fictional version of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire. It’s suitable to be read at any time of year.
Belle, Book and Christmas Candle
Do you believe in magic?
Sky St Clair doesn’t, and growing up in Castle Clair, a small town renowned for its mystical past and magical legends, she never felt she belonged.
Sky got away from Castle Clair as soon as she could, but when a run of bad luck leaves her homeless and jobless, she has little choice but to accept her sister Star’s invitation to return home for the festive season.
When Star has an accident, Sky finds herself running the family’s magical supplies shop. Wands, crystals, pendulums … really? It’s a tough job when she doesn’t believe in the products she’s selling, but how can she? Magic isn’t real, no matter what her deluded siblings think.
Jethro Richmond doesn’t believe in magic either. In fact, he doesn’t believe in anything much anymore, which is proving to be a bit of a problem for a writer of fantasy novels. With a self-constructed wall around his heart as high as Clair Tower, and his dreams as ruined as the town’s ancient castle, he’s lost all hope of repairing his tattered career. The last thing he needs is to get involved with a family like the St Clairs, and no matter what a certain little black cat seems to want Jethro has no intention of spending any time with Sky or her unusual sisters.
But this is a strange little town and, as the residents prepare to celebrate Christmas, Sky and Jethro might just discover that in Castle Clair, anything is possible. Even magic
Finally – what are you working on ATM?
Sharon: I’m writing the second in The Witches of Castle Clair series, plotting the fourth and final Kearton Bay novel, and starting to jot down ideas for the fifth Bramblewick book.
Jessica: I’m trying to find a home with a publisher for my tenth novel. I’m being very selective about where to send it, though. I’ve had some superb feedback, no offers … yet. I’m waiting to hear back on a couple of others, but will indie publish it in spring if they’re a no. I’m also part-way through another two books. I hope one will be ready for summer and another for autumn. In theory. Reality is that I’m in the final year of a Masters in Creative Writing through Open University, and I have another five assignments to go on that which will have to take priority. My final big assignment will be 15k words of a new novel and I’m excited about that because I’ve decided to do something a bit different as a challenge. If it works, that may be a 2020 publication.
Thanks so much for inviting us onto your blog, Lizzie. We really appreciate it. It’s been great fun having you here, I hope we might meet up soon.
Yorkshire Rose Writers
Happy New Year to all my followers and friends. I thought I’d look back over 2018 to see what I’d achieved in the writerly sphere. I was surprised by the result . . . So, in reverse order, starting with December here’s what I’ve been up to.
Another cracking meeting of the Belmont Belles which I organise with June Kearns. To round up the year’s activities we were honoured to have best selling romance author Carole Matthews as our guest. Cue an inspirational talk and fabulous Q&A session. Also in December, much To my surprise I won a £40 amazon voucher from Kindle Direct Publishing to spend on author copies of my novels. Colour me lucky.
In November I was invited to appear alongside Sue Moorcroft and Heidi Jo Swain at Upminster library to meet readers and talk about my path to publication. A thrilling moment for an indie author was made extra special when I learned that the library had ordered copies of my novels – hopefully I might get some PLR revenue from that.
Adrienne Vaughan and I went to London, Waterstones Piccadilly to be precise there we attended Sue Moorcrofts launch for A Christmas Gift and bumped into many RNA pals. Great evening out which set us up for the festive season. That happened less than a week after my second cataract operation, so I was glad Adrienne was there for support. She makes for a pretty glamorous guide dog.
October saw the inaugural meeting of the East Midlands Chapter of the Society of Authors in Leicester. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a friendly and supportive group which met at THE HEAD OF STEAM in Market Street. The highlight of the month was being invited to talk to a large group of final year students at De Montfort University on the subject of indie publishing. They’ve asked me back next year and to attend the States of Independence book fair in March 2019.
I’m a great believer in learning from successful authors and so it was a no brainer to attend a master class featuring Cathy Bramley and Carole Matthews at Waterstones in Nottingham. The talk was entertaining and informative and the queue of readers waiting to have their books signed was something I can only dream about.
I organised for Kim Nash, publicity officer at Bookouture, to come along to the Belmont Belles to explain her role and to dispel one or two myths regarding what Bookouture requires from authors. I can’t quite decide if I’m ready to give up my indie status and get locked into a contract as I like the freedom to write what I like, when I like. But – as 007 said – never say never. Right?
In October I attended a SOA meeting in Oxford at Balliol College, where I bumped into RNA members, Liz Harris and Julia Roberts . Dave and I had lunch in the Eagle and Child where Tolkien and other ‘Inklings’ met to talk and write and where he penned some of Lord of the Rings. I hope some of the magic rubbed off on me.
September saw my returning to the Norfolk Marshes to celebrate the fifth birthday of Boot Camp Bride. I visited the locations which inspired the novel. If you’d like to learn more about that visit, click here.
I appeared on Sharon Booth’s blog where I described my life in FIVE photos. That was great fun – do pop along and see it if you have time. (Yep, that’s me – determined and cussed.LOL)
I was really chuffed to appear on Being Anne’s list of romances she’d enjoyed in 2018. Anne is an incredible blogger: committed, supportive and widely read.
Well, that about wraps up Part One of my Literary Journey this year. Tune in next time for Part Two (August – January) to learn what 2019 holds in store.
And, as they say in Scotland Happy New Year and Lang May Yer Lum Reek.
Posted in Lizzie's Scribbles
Tags: Adrienne Vaughan, Anne Williams, Belmont Belles, blogger, book launches, Bookouture, Carole Matthews, Cathy Bramley, Heidi Jo Swain, Jena's Golden Chapters, Jessie Cahalin, June Kearns, KDP, Kim Nash, Library talks, Liz Harris, Lizzie Lamb, romance author, Sharon Booth, SOA, Sue Moorcroft
It is my pleasure to welcome Sharon Booth to my blog. Sharon and I ‘found’ each other via Facebook and the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Sharon is a hardworking and inspired novelist and a generous supporter of other writers.
We met ‘in the flesh’ for the first time last year at the RNA Afternoon Tea in York. Sharon is every bit as warm and friendly as I’d imagined. Take it away, Sharon . . .
I write contemporary romance, with a generous sprinkling of humour thrown in for good measure. For many years, I tried to write big, dramatic, historical sagas, as I’d grown up reading Catherine Cookson novels, and thought that was the sort of thing I should be writing. It took me quite some time to realise that, as wonderful as those books are, they’re not the sort of books I need to write. I started to create contemporary stories, filled with heroines I would happily hang out with, and heroes I fell in love with. Now, I have nine books published! Two of those books started life as People’s Friend pocket novels, which was a dream come true, as it meant my work was actually on the shelves in supermarkets and WH Smith.
I have also sold the large-print rights for the pocket novels, to Ulverscroft, and the first one was published last April, as part of its Linford Romance Library, with the second one coming out in March. This means I also have books in libraries.
I live in East Yorkshire with my husband and German Shepherd dog. I have five grown-up children and seven grandchildren. I’m one tenth of the blogging group, The Write Romantics. I’m shamefully prone to developing huge crushes on fictional heroes, and I never lose hope that, one day, I will hear the sound of those Tardis engines …
A Q and A session with Sharon. I’m sure you’ll find her answers and inspirational.
advice for fledgling authors
- If you really want to write, do it. Don’t wait until you “have the time” or until inspiration strikes. Pick up a pen, or sit at that computer, and start. I’ve been told, many times, by various people, that they would love to write a book “if they had the time”. The fact is, you have to make the time. I have a family and a day job. If you want to write, you will push everything else aside and do it.
- Seek out other writers. It’s a very lonely business if you don’t make contact, and the writing community is so supportive. Join a writing group, or make online connections. Maybe join the Romantic Novelists’ Association if your genre is romance.
- Read the genre you write in. Read how-to-write books. If you can afford it, take writing courses.
- Be prepared for rejection and develop a skin like a rhinoceros hide – or, at least, pretend to.
- Don’t expect to get rich. Keep writing. Don’t give up. If you want this, you must make it happen.
- Be kind to other writers. It’s a tough world out there, so share their news, encourage, support and congratulate. Learn to promote your own stuff, but don’t be afraid to promote other people’s. There’s room for everyone.
- Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy it. Writing is a job, and it’s undoubtedly hard work. You started writing because you love it, never lose sight of that.
Who or what has inspired you the most to become a writer?
- Enid Blyton, whose stories sparked my love for books and reading, which, in turn, made me want to write my own stories.
- My English teacher, from the age of thirteen until I left school. My English teacher was so encouraging and supportive, really making me believe that this was something I could do. For the first time in my life, I began to think that writing was a gift, and that I should nurture it and be proud of it.
- A BBC programme, Reader, I Married Him, back in 2008, or thereabouts, ignited that flame of hope again, after years spent raising children, and writing nothing more exciting than shopping lists.
- Jane Wenham-Jones’s book, Wannabe a Writer? convinced me that, yes, I really, really did, and led me to study creative writing, read numerous how-to books, and eventually join the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme.
- Milly Johnson and Sue Townsend. Reading books by these two wonderful writers, about people I knew and understood, I finally realised that I could write about people like me, and that books could be funny, too.
If not a writer – then what?
I do have a day job, working for the NHS. If I’m honest, though, that’s not a path I chose, exactly. I’d already given up on the idea of university, as I’d been assured that it wasn’t for “people like us”. I wanted to be a primary school teacher at one point, in my early thirties, and took a further education course aimed at women keen to return to work after having children. A careers guide visited us, and suggested I should aim lower, and try to be a teaching assistant instead. My already fragile confidence was shattered. I spent a few more years floundering, before finally gathering my courage and signing up for a degree in literature with the Open University, graduating with honours in my mid-forties. I want people to know that it’s never too late to realise your dreams, don’t listen to the doubters.
Tell us a little bit about where you set your novels
I set my novels in Yorkshire – which is such a huge and diverse county. My Kearton Bay novels are set on the North Yorkshire coast, in a little village that bears a remarkable resemblance to Robin Hood’s Bay. Bit by bit, I’ve built up a whole world around that village, spreading out into the Yorkshire Moors and creating a network of villages and towns that also feature in my Moorland Heroes and Bramblewick series. The Skimmerdale series, on the other hand, is set over in the stunningly beautiful Yorkshire Dales. I have another series in my mind, which will take place in the Yorkshire Wolds, which is an area on my doorstep – the Wolds Way actually starts in my home town of Hessle, right by the Humber Bridge. It’s an underrated area, often overlooked as people rave about the Moors and Dales. I absolutely love Yorkshire, and like nothing more than heading out for the day to take in the stunning views or ancient buildings. We’ve got plenty of castles and abbeys to choose from, that’s for sure.
It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but at Carroll’s Confectionary, the meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. New boss, Kit Carroll, is hardly winning friends with his high-handed attitude, his foolhardy approach to production, and his tight-fisted treatment of the factory’s employees.
Marley Jacobs, his self-styled PA, is determined to make him see the error of his ways, and return the festive spirit to Carroll’s Confectionary.
Unfortunately, the little matter of their previous relationship, along with Kit’s callous treatment of her when they were teenage sweethearts, keeps getting in the way of her good intentions. With encouragement from co-worker Don, romantic sister Olivia, and — astonishingly — the usually sceptical Great Uncle Charles, Marley decides to save this modern-day Mr Scrooge from himself, despite having no well-meaning ghosts to help her.
But revisiting the past doesn’t just stir things up for Kit. As Marley struggles to deal with bittersweet memories, present-day events take a surprising turn. Can the future be changed, after all? And is it only Kit who needs saving?
“Sharon Booth’s writing just gets better and better…” Review of Saving Mr Scrooge: Being Anne Book Blog.
“Everything you want in a Christmassy book”. Review of Christmas at the Country Practice: Writer up the Hill.
“A terrific book from a terrific author”. Review of Resisting Mr Rochester: Antrim Cycle
“There Must Be an Angel is one of those delightful stories that grabs you by the hand on page one”. Review of There Must Be an Angel: Jaffa Reads Too.
“A hugely entertaining jaunt of a novel through the Yorkshire dales”. Review of This Other Eden: Random Badger.
I’m currently working on the second in my Skimmerdale series, the sequel to This Other Eden. I’m very much enjoying revisiting my gorgeous Yorkshire Dales sheep farmer, Eliot! I’m also working on the third Bramblewick novel, which continues the story of the village surgery, and the medical and reception staff who work there.
You can find out more about Sharon and her book here – www.sharonboothwriter.com
**featured image – Whitby, Yorks – https://unsplash.com/@grafiklee
Just leaving for Devon where the Exeter Novel Prize ceremony will take place on Saturday 12th March – the day after my birthday. I’m a finalist for the award and have beaten hundreds of other writers to get here. I’m the only indie author to have made the final. Even better, the short list has been drawn up by fabulous agent Broo Doherty. Woo hoo. Go me! The novel which has been short listed is my #1 best seller – Scotch on the Rocks. If you want to find out more about that novel, read this blog. I’ll report back next week, hopefully clutching one of the prizes.
Lovely blogger and huge supporter of indie authors – Rose Amber – reads her review of SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS
If you’d like to read about the locations I use in my novels – then check out this fabulous blog post by Barb Taub
And finally . . . a heart warming review by Sharon Booth
My favourite bit? This . . .
“Romance? The best kind. It starts off with mistrust and doubt, sparks fly, passion ignites and then…Well, some romances are forever. There’s nothing so romantic as a hero who vows never to hurt the heroine, never to leave her, and to love her forever. Especially when you just know he’s speaking the truth.”